Provisional Minor’s License: Guide for Sophomores

We hope our website helped you through the “Learners Permit” process, now you should be prepared to take Drivers Test (the intent is not to be caught having to reiterate all the training stuff again).

To obtain your California Provisional Minor’s License you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Prove that you have finished both driver education and driver training (DMV form DL 356, OL 237, or OL 238).
  • Have had an instruction permit for at least 6 months.
  • Provide a parent’s signature on your instruction permit stating you have completed all the driving practice outlined in the Parent-Teen Training Aide. that is available at your local DMV field office. (note: Other’s may sign in place of a parent.  Please refer to the Aide for more details)
  • Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice (10 hours must be completed at night). Your parents must certify to this training.
  • Pass the behind-the-wheel driving test. If you fail the test, you must wait two weeks so that you can practice before you are tested again. You have three chances to pass the driving test within the time your permit is valid.
  • Give a thumb print.
  • Have your picture taken after you have successfully passed your driving test.

Getting Ready for the Road Test: Practice, Practice, Practice

Prior to taking the California behind-the-wheel driving test there is a lot of practice that needs to take place.  You will need to complete over 50 hours of supervised driving and 10-hours must be at night.


Where Do You Take The Tests?

You may take the written, vision, and driving tests at any DMV office which provides driver license services. Written and vision tests are required when you apply for an original, renewal, or upgrade to a different class of license. Driving tests are usually waived for the class of license you currently have. Appointments are available for all DMV services. An appointment is usually required to take any driving test.

What will The Examination Include?

Your examination for a driver license includes the following:

  • An eye test to measure how clearly you see. If you need glasses or corrective contact lenses to pass this test, you should wear them. Your license will be marked to show that you must wear “corrective lenses” while driving.
  • A test of traffic laws, road signs, and driving safety rules (written or oral) to find out if you know how to handle your vehicle in keeping with the laws. The questions will ask you about the information in this book. (The tests are available in many languages, but all drivers must show the ability to read and understand simple English such as is used in highway traffic and directional signs.)
  • A driving test is usually given by appointment only.

To Make a DMV Appointment:

To schedule an appointment at the DMV for written or driving tests, click here.

For the driving test, bring with you:

  • Your old license or instruction permit, if you have one.
  • A licensed driver.
  • A car that is safe to drive, currently and properly registered for legal use on the public streets and highways, and displays a rear license plate. Make sure your vehicle’s brake lights, horn, parking brake, and electric signals are working properly and the vehicle does not have bald tires. The driver’s side window must roll down. The windshield must allow a full unobstructed field of vision and there must be two rear view mirrors (one must be on the outside on the left side of the vehicle).
  • You will be asked to locate the vehicle’s headlight switch, windshield wipers, defroster, and emergency flashers.
  • You must demonstrate how to use the parking brake.
  • You will be asked to show that your car is properly insured.
  • You must wear you seat belt.

The driving test may be postponed if any of the above requirements are not met or if you refuse to use your seatbelt during the driving test.

During The Driving Test

The driving test is your chance to show that you can drive safely. Only you and the examiner (or other DMV personnel) may be in the vehicle with you. No animal may be in the vehicle. The examiner will give you directions. You will not be tricked or asked to do anything illegal.

You will be asked to show the arm signals. However, during the test, you must use the vehicle’s turn signal lights.

The examiner will ask you to simulate parking on a hill. To back up in a straight line, or to turn the vehicle around on a narrow two-way street (“three point turn” or “turnabout”).

During the driving test, the examiner will note:

  • How you start your vehicle. When leaving the curb, do you turn your head and look back for passing cars? Do you signal and wait until it is safe before entering traffic?
  • How do you control your vehicle? Do you use the gas pedal, brake steering wheel and other controls correctly?
  • How you drive in traffic. Do you use the proper lane? Do you signal, change lanes carefully, and follow other vehicles at a safe distance? Do you turn your head and look back before pulling away from the curb or changing lanes? Do you signal the proper distance before turning?
  • How you merge on and off the freeway.
  • How you obey the traffic signals and posted signs.
  • How you drive through blind or crowded intersections. Do you scan carefully for signs, signals, pedestrians. And other vehicles? Do you yield and take the right-of-way correctly.
  • How you steer your vehicle. Do you turn from the proper lane into the proper lane. Do you turn too wide or too sharp? How you stop. Do you stop smoothly and at the right spot? Can you stop quickly and safely in an emergency?
  • How you back up. Do you look over your right shoulder? Can you back in a straight line? Do you have complete control of the car?
  • How you change your speed to suit the number and speed of cars nearby, the people crossing the street, road conditions, weather, the amount of light, and the distance you can see ahead.
  • How you judge distance. Do you stay a safe distance away from other cars when following or passing ? Do you stay a safe distance away from people walking or riding on the road ?
  • How you respect the rights of others. Are you courteous to other drivers and pedestrians? Do you pay full attention to the job of driving.

At the end of the test, the examiner will give you your score sheet and discuss the results with you.

Provisional License Restrictions for Minors

Once you pass the behind-the-wheel driving test then you will get your Minor Provisional Drivers License.  You may drive alone with your provisional license, as long as you are not involved in accidents or have traffic violations.

These restrictions apply:

  • During the first 6 months after you are licensed, you must be accompanied by a driver 25 years of age or older if you drive between the hours of 12:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M. or if you transport people under age 20 at any time.
  • During the second 6 months after you are licensed, you must be accompanied by a driver 25 years of age or older if you drive between the hours of 12:00A.M. and 5:00A.M. However, you may transport passengers under age 20 without supervision between the hours of 5:00 A.M. and midnight.

Parents: Don’t Forget to Add Your Teen Driver to Your Insurance Policy!

Once your teen has a drivers license then you need to make sure that the teen is insured either under their own policy or your policy.  This would be easy to overlook.


This web site is provided as a service to the community.  Please refer to the California DMV for all current requirements, laws, and other restrictions as the above information may have changed.